Enjoy a gastronomic itinerary from Madrid to San Sebastian and Bilbao, crossing the most famous Spanish vineyards in La Rioja along the way. With a mix of cultural visits and culinary experiences, this trip will take you through Basque Country with wine and pintxos tastings, visits to Modernist landmarks, and more, all at your own pace.

Highlights

  • Spend three days in Madrid, with an excursion to Toledo
  • Try your hand at winemaking for a day in La Rioja
  • Take a culinary pintxos walking tour in San Sebastian
  • Visit Basque Country and learn traditional cheesemaking

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Madrid. Welcome to Spain! Madrid
Day 2 Discovering the Spanish capital Madrid
Day 3 Excursion to Toledo, the city of the Three Cultures Madrid
Day 4 From Madrid to La Rioja La Rioja
Day 5 La Rioja and its wonderful wines La Rioja
Day 6 From La Rioja to San Sebastian San Sebastian
Day 7 A gourmet visit to San Sebastian San Sebastian
Day 8 Bilbao & the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Day 9 Basque countryside excursion and farm visit Bilbao
Day 10 Bilbao - Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Madrid. Welcome to Spain!

Madrid
Madrid

Arrive in Madrid and enjoy a welcoming tapas tour. You'll visit the classic bars, taverns, and inns that have defined the essence of Madrid for centuries. Try a variety of traditional dishes (with a wine pairing, of course), and have fun learning the codes used by locals to order properly in a bar.

Day 2: Discovering the Spanish capital

Madrid - Plaza Mayor
Madrid - Plaza Mayor

Accompanied by your private guide, today you'll stroll through the oldest districts of Madrid, starting from the Arab wall of the tenth century and passing through the monuments bequeathed by the Austrian and Bourbon dynasties. You'll visit the Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace and the elegant Plaza de Oriente, the Royal Opera (which recently turned 200 years old), and La Almudena cathedral.

After lunch, continue your tour with the royal Eastern Palace, the largest palace in all of Western Europe. Its construction began in 1738 by order of Felipe V. You can admire the official reception rooms, museum area, Royal Chapel, Throne Room, and the private rooms of King Carlos III and Queen Isabel II.

Day 3:  Toledo day trip

Toledo
Toledo

Get up early and make the hour-long journey to Toledo with a private driver. Meet your guide at the entrance of Toledo to explore this monumental city, the first capital of the Spanish Empire. During your tour, you'll discover the impressive Cathedral, Palace of Justice, Town Hall, old Jewish quarter, and much more.

Day 4: Madrid to La Rioja

La Rioja winery
La Rioja winery

Pick up your rental car and start driving to La Rioja. Once you arrive, you'll get to be a winemaker for a day, experiencing the whole Rioja winemaking process. Start in a family winery with small traditional cellar excavated in the rock, which dates back to the 16th century. After learning all about the process, you'll bottle your own wine, complete with a personalized label.

Day 5: La Rioja 

Vineyards in La Rioja
Vineyards in La Rioja

Enjoy a full day in the famous Rioja wine area, visiting two outstanding wineries. Meet your private driver and explore La Rioja's monumental medieval villages and hundreds of acres of vineyards offering some of the world´s best wines. The first stop is a renowned and historic winery with a cutting edge design—innovation and tradition united in a single building. After a tour and tasting, head to the second winery, owned by a wine-making family stretching back four generations.

Day 6: From La Rioja to San Sebastian

Sandy beaches in San Sebastian
Sandy beaches in San Sebastian

After breakfast, drive to San Sebastian. San Sebastian lies along a white sandy bay between hills, surrounded by beautiful green scenery. The picturesque old town is located between the sea and the River Urumea, the marina, and the fishermen's district. Once you're settled in, enjoy a 4-hour guided tour of San Sebastian, exploring the old Casino, La Concha beach, Victoria Eugenia Theatre, and other highlights. 

Day 7: Gourmet tour of San Sebastian

Culinary tour in San Sebastian
Culinary tour in San Sebastian

Enjoy a private culinary tour through the lively streets of San Sebastian. In every neighborhood, you'll notice scores of eateries—some traditional, some original and innovative, and some with tempting deli counters. With your guide, you'll stop to sample all the locally-loved best spots. Explore the old town between the Urumea River, the marina, and the fishermen's district. Check out the view from City Hall, where an elegant promenade with railings and street lamps runs along beautiful La Concha Beach. 

Day 8: Bilbao & the Guggenheim Museum

Bilbao
Bilbao

After breakfast, drive to Bilbao where you will drop off your rental car and start your private guided tour. This includes a stop at the incredible Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry. The building is composed of a series of interconnected volumes: some are limestone-coated orthogonal shapes while others are curved and twisted in a metallic titanium skin, all linked by glass curtain walls for remarkable transparency throughout.

Day 9: Basque countryside excursion and farm visit

Basque Country forest
Basque Country forest

Take a drive to the mountains for an active day in the countryside. Your private guide will explain how Basque people have always lived close to the land on mountain farms called caserios. Even today, many locals live in rural small villages in the foothills with their own sheep and cows. Your day includes a visit to a farm, where you'll learn about milking cows and the process of aging cheese in caves, and watch sheepdogs herd the flock. Then, enjoy a homemade countryside lunch made with local produce.

Day 10: Bilbao - Departure

Bilbao
Bilbao

After breakfast, your private driver will be waiting for you in the lobby of the hotel to take you to Bilbao Airport. Another nice option could be to continue the journey to France, crossing the frontier to join Saint-Jean-de-Luz or Biarritz.

Map

Map of Food & Culture in Basque Country - 10 Days
Map of Food & Culture in Basque Country - 10 Days